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Sims v. Wexford Health

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 17, 2019

JOHN SIMS, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH 501 Holiday Dr., Foster Plaza Four, Pittsburgh, PA 15220, CHELSIE BOYCE Nurse, LISA BLOUNT Nurse, MELANIE JOHNSON Nurse, LARA COMWAY Nurse, JENNIFER FLETCHER Nurse, HEATHER DAVIS Nurse, JERRY MELE Nurse, SARAH MARTIN Nurse, MEGAN WARD Nurse, MARRISSA RUNYAN Nurse, HOLLY DENMAN Nurse, LARA MCNEW Nurse, DEBRA ELLINGTON Nurse, NICOLE CLAYBORN Nurse, CHRISTOPHER SHERRON Nurse, RHONDA MCCARTNEY Nurse, Individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.

          ENTRY SCREENING COMPLAINT, DISMISSING INSUFFICIENT CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING SERVICE OF PROCESS

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         I. Screening of the Complaint

         A. Legal Standards

         Plaintiff John Sims was formerly incarcerated at the New Castle Correctional Facility (New Castle). Because the plaintiff is currently a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), the Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his complaint before service on the defendants. Pursuant to § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017). To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Pro se complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed liberally and held to “a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Cesal, 851 F.3d at 720.

         B. Allegations

         The complaint filed on March 14, 2019, names as defendants Wexford Health and sixteen nurses who worked at New Castle. Mr. Sims names the defendants in their individual and official capacities. For relief, Mr. Sims seeks compensatory damages.

         Mr. Sims alleges that he asked each of the defendant nurses for medical care during the period of February 18, 2018, through February 24, 2018. He was on suicide watch during most of this time. Dkt. 1 at 8. He alleges that he requested his high blood pressure medication, reported that his blood pressure was high, and that he was experiencing chest pain. The defendant nurses refused to provide treatment or to submit his health care request forms. He alleges that he thereafter had a mini stroke. In September 2018, after he had the mini stroke, he was put back on some type of high blood pressure medication.

         C. Analysis

         The only allegation against Wexford Health is a conclusion that it “is legally responsible for” his having a mini stroke. Dkt. 1 at 4. Wexford Health is identified as the company that hires nurses to work at New Castle. Wexford is treated as a government entity for purposes of Section 1983 claims. See Jackson v. Illinois Medi-Car, Inc., 300 F.3d 760, 766 fn.6 (7th Cir. 2002); but see Shields v. Illinois Department of Correction, 746 F.3d 782, 790 (7th Cir. 2014) (finding “substantial grounds to question the extension of the Monell holding for municipalities to private corporations”). “The central question is always whether an official policy, however, expressed … caused the constitutional deprivation.” Glisson v. Indiana Department of Correction, et al., 849 F.3d 372, 379 (7th Cir. 2017) (holding also that the failure to make policy itself may be actionable conduct); see also Johnson v. Dossey, 515 F.3d 778, 782 (7th Cir. 2008). Mr. Sims does not allege any facts that suggest that a constitutional deprivation was caused by an express policy or custom of Wexford Health. Therefore, the claim against Wexford Health is dismissed for failure to state a claim a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         The official capacity claims against the nurse defendants are dismissed as unnecessary and for failure to state a claim a claim upon which relief can be granted because there is no claim for injunctive relief.

         The deliberate indifference Eighth Amendment damages claims shall proceed against the sixteen nurse defendants in their individual capacities.

         These are the claims the Court discerns in the complaint. If Mr. Sims believes that additional claims were alleged in the complaint but not identified by the Court, he shall have th ...


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